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Old 11-14-2010, 11:17 PM   #1 
DazzleKitty
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Need some constructive criticism on my tank

This is the tank my betta is in right now. It's a 2.5 gallon.




I know real plants are recommended over the fake plants but he uses them and his little cave to hide a lot. I know they can tear fins but the ones I bought I chose because the plastic is a little softer and less sharp on the edges. Also, I will be honest....putting real plants in there is a bit intimidating. I'm not very experienced and this is the first tank I am taking care of on my own.

I am doing regular water changes using tap water, but then putting in a water conditioner tablet and letting it fizzle out before putting him back in.

The pump was recommdended to me by a Petsmart employee and I don't think she really made a good choice. It's so long that it's pretty much buried in the rocks and I clear them to make some space but it's not doing the greatest. The tank isn't super dirty but I don't see how it can do the job right.

I don't have a heater yet but I intended to get one. Despite the fact the water is a little chilly, he's still pretty active and is always darting about and exploring.

Any other recommendations for what I should do?

I noticed after I had the tank a couple of days the water was a tiny bit cloudy. I did a 50% water change which didn't help. A couple days later I did about a 90% water change with a conditioner tablet and that helped a bit.
I am suspecting maybe I didn't wash the gravel enough, but I am not sure. I was feeding flakes at first which may contribute, but I am not doing that anymore. He doesn't seem to eat or like them and I noticed he seems to be more into his pellet food.

Thanks in advance to any recommendations.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:38 PM   #2 
ashleyy
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By pump do you mean filter? Or air pump?
Either way, if you would like, you can remove it completely. It is not needed unless your tank is cycled (you can google or search thread on here about nitrogen cycling).

You really do need to invest in a heater soon though. I suggest getting a heater with a dial -- something that you can adjust the temperature. Non-adjustable heaters are really worthless to me.

The plants should be fine, there are some colorful silk plants (they aren't really silk, they are just fabric leaves..) if you ever feel that the plastic ones are damaging his fins.

Also, with a 2.5 gallon tank, you will need to do 100% water changes every 3 to 4 days.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:51 PM   #3 
Adastra
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Agreed with Ashleyy. This is a good start, but a heater is an essential piece of equipment, so you need to invest in a nice, 25 watt adjustable heater like this one: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3743+11368&pcatid=11368 soon. Heater pads, pre-set heaters and other non-adjustable mini-heaters are a waste of money because if your house is too cold, they won't heat the water enough, and if your house gets too hot, the water will overheat. Adjustable heaters are a few more dollars, but they give the user much more stability, security, and control.

As for the decorations, rainbow isn't necessarily my taste, but it's a good enough start as any. :) I think you should get a couple tall broad-leafed fabric plants. It will provide him with more surfaces to rest on near the surface of the water and it will help cover up and baffle the flow from your filter. It will also be easier for him to blow large bubblenests if leaves are touching the surface of the water. As for live plants, there are a couple varieties that are very difficult to kill and do a great job of promoting good water quality. Java fern and java moss do this very well. Anubias are hardy shade-loving plants that should do well, but they are slow growers, so they won't absorb as much of the fish's waste as java fern and particularly java moss. If you can get your hands on some java moss, it's probably the best option, since it absorbs nutrients at the highest rate and is the most difficult to kill. Honestly, you'd have to be trying to kill it.

You should take the time to research the nitrogen cycle and purchase a reliable liquid master test kit like this one: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+4345+4454&pcatid=4454

Last edited by Adastra; 11-14-2010 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:01 AM   #4 
CrankyFish84
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Hello :) ~

Definitely get a heater that is ADJUSTABLE!
Today I had to buy 6 adjustable heaters because I saw the Hydor Mini Heaters (non adjustable),
were just way too all over the map temp wise, and I hate to think of my babies stressing over that.
I think a Hydor Mini Heater in a 2.5 would overheat something wicked.
Most people don't buy adjustable heaters, so they are often on sale at petstores clearance racks...if it looks opened/tampered with, ask for a discount (I usually get 25% off).

Don't be scared of real plants :) I was, and none of mine have died!
Anacharis is cheap, grows like crazy & my boys love it, it floats & shoots off runners.
I also have some Wendt's, Ruben Swords, and long thin grassy type I forget the name....I don't use
any fertilizer or special gravel for them...Look for plants with a bunch of roots coming out the bottom.
Oh and my lights are 15W to 30W.

Also, I started to use black gravel & noticed their color's got brighter, just a thought :)
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:53 AM   #5 
DazzleKitty
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Thank you all for the detailed and informative responses.

To answer your question, ashleyy, it's a filter and it puts oxygen into the water too. If it's not necessary I'd rather do away with it since it's an eyesore to the tank. Doing the complete water changes every few days is fine by me.

I will get that heater asap. And I'll get the recommended adjustable one.

One thing that concerned me is that the live plants will could up the water. I don't know why I assume that.
Do the plants really help with fish waste? Because that's very encouragine.

When you guys do a 100% water change, HOW do you do it? Do you take out all the gravel and rinse it? Or do you just let the gravel stay in a bit of water and pour the fresh on top?
I heard a baster is good for getting ride of muck and uneaten food on the bottom. Is this true? If it isn't that good I think the vacuum would work if you guys recommend it.

About the java moss and ferns....can these be gotten at stores like Petsmart or even Wal-Mart? Or would a fish specialty store be the best bet?

Sorry for the flow of new questions.

And thanks again, all!
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:06 AM   #6 
CrankyFish84
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Dazzle,

YaY! Good for you for being on top of things :)

Even without a filter, plants never clouded up the water in my 3G's or bigger.
They do give off debris when first put in, but it settled down. So when you first put any in,
you'll go, "omg the water is filthy!".... Don't worry, let it settle, and you can suck the debris
out later.
On the 3Gs I do 50% changes 2x a week, that's just what works for me,
I found mine get too stressed with removing all the old water & I don't wash the gravel.
So you remove your fishy (I found a black non see through cup is best for less stress, just suck
him into it), then use your hand to kick up the gravel debris, and either dump it in the sink,
or get some tubing to siphon it out by sucking one end till you see the water halfway down the tube into a bucket...I've accidently got water in my mouth, lol, it takes some practice.
I have a gravel battery operated vac & honestly the siphon method is faster.
I know you didn't ask this, but I think those water conditioner tablets are more expensive than PRIME water conditioner over all...Prime is very concentrated & will
last you forever, and works instantly.

I've never seen live plants at the walmarts by me..or at petco...Petsmart I have, but
not Java Fern/Moss. They might order it for you though! I got my plants at a small pet shop & they are usually sold out bc they are the only place selling them. I'd send you some of mine but I'm not exactly sure how to ship them! I always heard, the faster the plant grows, the better it is at keeping ammonia down.

Last edited by CrankyFish84; 11-15-2010 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:45 AM   #7 
scootshoot
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Looks very nice, you are on the right track
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:44 AM   #8 
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Far as your suggestion on water changes.

Get a funnel and get two 1 gallon empty water jugs. Fill one jug with replacement water a day or two in advance with conditioner and let sit. Reason you let it sit is so that it is allowed to hit room temperature.

2nd jug is for your tank water. Put your hand in there and stir the gravel up. Then use siphon or even a betta cup for that matter and scoop the tank water into your 2nd jug.
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:39 AM   #9 
ashleyy
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This is how I do my water changes :]

I have a 2.5 to 3 gallon tank, so I fill 2, one gallon jugs with tap water and let them sit for at least 24 hours.

I make sure I have everything ready before beginning the water change so he isn't in his holding cup too long.

I wait for him to swim to the top and I scoop him out of the tank with a cup and put on the lid (it is actually a small tuppe-ware container that I poked holes in the lid of) I used to scoop him out with a net but that was way too stressful for him.

When I had gravel(I keep my tank bare bottom now) I dumped it in a metal strainer and rinsed it lightly and then rinsed his plants lightly too. I place everything back in and start pouring in the new water.

After I pour in 2 gallons of water that I had sitting, I then use a 1 liter measuring cup and add hot water from my tap to fill my tank and raise the temperature of the water to what it was before I emptied it. You will have to play with this to know how much warm water is needed to match the temperature.

I add water conditioner and then pour him back into the tank.


Hope this helps
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:59 AM   #10 
danifacetastic
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I don't use real plants either. I have a 10g divided into 3 for my three bettas and each section has 4 plants varying from small to large and one decoration. They love them and they've never tore their fins before. I have a few plastic ones and a few silk ones. My one larger crowntail betta really loves the silk plant and loved it even when I had him in his one gallon tank. A heater really is nessacary. I didn't have one for a whlie when I have my bettas in one gallon tanks because the water was staying at a good temp but when it got colder the water was getting to 55 degrees. Now that I have heaters it stays between 78-80 degrees at all times and the fish are a lot more active.
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